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Duckweed in the Wild

April 12, 2016

received_905633902817043.jpegNot a very snazzy title, but the point I want to make is that duckweed grows wild pretty much all around the globe and probably in a small pond near you. Here is an example of a quiet pond beside a one lane country road in Southern Illinois, US. All summer it is covered with this amazing blanket of duckweed that never stops giving. It is fed by leaching lawn fertilizer from a nearby residential landscape and slowly decomposing leaves from all the trees you see in the photo. pH 6.7  ammonium levels 1-2ppm. Not a lot of nitrogen but enough to keep it growing. I harvested a pickup load of this lemna a few years back – nearly wiping out the entire mat. Almost overnight, it grew back to a solid covering. This particular lemna did not transplant well for me in a lined pond. Most of it died in shock, being particularly fussy. Other strains are much easier to transplant- lemna turionifera, Spirodella strains, Wolffia strains. However, I keep coming back to this sweet little pond and taking fresh samples every summer, just to see if I can successfully get it to thrive for me as well as it does for Mother Nature.  Finally got it to happen. The trick is LOTS of dead, decaying leaves of certain types of trees. Fussy little bugger.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. romstravel permalink
    April 30, 2016 11:36 am

    Hi! I’m planning an aquaculture project growing tilapia and came across the information that duckweed is a great feed for them, so started looking around the internet and found your webpage, I’ve been reading your articles and have found even more interesting info.
    I just have doubts about how much can I feed them? Can I substitute the all the feed with just duckweed? I would rather have something that I can grow on my farm and give it to them than buying from people. Plus I live in a country where it is very difficult to buy feed cause there is none! Or it is very very expensive, I live in Venezuela.

    I’m also intrested and giving it to chickens!

    Any info would be appreciated! We are two entrepreneurs that are starting this project to feed people in our community! Thanks!


    • May 2, 2016 4:54 pm

      Dear Romstravel, you can easily add it to your feed regimen for tilapia ad libum and reduce your normal feed rations by as much as 2-40% Do watch your weight gains as this is a general rule of thumb and dependent on the quality of your duckweed. (IE protein/starch/ash ratios) IF you have a lot of algae in your tilapia pond, that is a good source of food as well. I would still supply them with SOME fish feed, regardless.
      Sure, you can feed it fresh to chickens as well. Chickens cannot process the water content as easily as tilapia, so start with supplying it as a fresh supplement for your chickens and gradually up your amounts you feed them up to 15% of their normal rations. Dried duckweed can be substituted for up to 25% of dry rations. That is a 25% savings on feed costs. Not a bad way deal. Plus, your eggs and broiler flesh will have better coloration.


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